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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Eclipses due to Rahu and ketu

Ascertaining the positions of the Moon's nodes, Rahu and Ketu, arose from the need to predict
eclipses. During a New Moon or Full Moon, if either of the nodes is near the Sun and the Moon,
an eclipse occurs. Therefore, the central theme of both nodes is the principle of eclipsing.
An eclipse is a momentous event, a major omen, respected from the earliest times as representing
a change in the wind, a time of great transition. In the context of Vedic astrology, eclipsing
carries the meanings of obscuring, negating, diminishing, paralyzing, and blinding, as well as
emphasizing, distorting, amplifying, and exaggerating.
Many classical Vedic astrology texts show the meaning of the nodes when in specific houses, e.g.
Jataka Parijata (Chapter 8, Shloka 60) states:
"When Rahu occupies the Ascendant, the person born will be cruel, without compassion or moral
virtue in his nature and suffering from ailments.
When Ketu occupies the Ascendant, the person born will be sickly and very avaricious.
If the Rahu or Ketu in the Ascendant be aspected by a benefic planet, the person concerned will
have princely enjoyments."
As the final shloka indicates, the nodes are incredibly mutable chameleons who take on the
nature of planets with and aspecting them, as well as the nature of their dispositors (planets that
rule the signs that they are in). I have found -- in agreement with classical Vedic astrology -- that
when a node is in the sign of a natural benefic, (Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter), it tends to function
more positively (all other factors being taken into account), while in the signs of malefics or one
of the Lights, (Mars, Saturn, Sun, and Moon), it presents more life challenges.
A planet's aspect on (or conjunction with) a node, however, influences that node more than the
sign it occupies. When Rahu or Ketu is with a planet in its own sign or exalted, especially Jupiter
or Venus, the node magnifies the positive effects of the well-placed planet, and can give
powerful results. The same is true when one of the nodes is with major yoga-forming planets,
including the Raja Yoga Karaka. (Note: there are also specific nodal Raja Yogas which signify
success in life. When either node is in an angle with a planet that rules house 1, 5, or 9, or in
house 1, 5, or 9 with a planet that rules an angle, the nodal Raja Yoga exists.)
As a therapist, I began to notice significant patterns concerning the nodes. One pattern is that
Rahu can represent an inflated ego and Ketu an insecure ego. (Of course, people who have big
egos often have a repressed and potent deep insecurity.) I've found that Rahu people can fall into
the trap of overestimating their abilities, while Ketu people tend to underestimate their skill level.
An interesting psychological study was done by Justin Kruger of the University of Illinois and
David Dunning of Cornell and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
1999, Vol. 77, No. 6., entitled "Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing
One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments".
What their research (as summarized in the New York Times of February 6, 2000) showed was,
"that few people have any idea how incompetent they really are. Subjects were tested, and were
also asked to assess their skill level, in a number of areas. Those who scored lowest on the
objective tests scored highest in their own self-evaluation. The same held true in reverse:
high-scoring subjects underestimated their skills and how well they compared with others."
Clearly, the study didn't reference subjects' astrology charts. Nevertheless, its results echo a
principle that I have seen: that Rahu-dominant people tend to overestimate how skilled they are,
and Ketu-dominant people often don't know how talented they really are.
But what defines a Rahu- or Ketu-dominant person? The primary indication is having at least one
planet conjunct -- in the same Sidereal sign as -- Rahu or Ketu, and none with the other node.
A secondary (not as strong) indication of which node is emphasized occurs when neither node is
conjunct a planet, but one of the nodes receives more aspects from planets than the other node;
then that node's themes become dominant.
It is important to reaffirm, however, that everyone has both nodes in their charts, and will
manifest the qualities of each of the nodes at different times (e.g. during the dasas and bhuktis of
each of the nodes). We all see-saw between doubt and confidence, and between relinquishment
and attachment at different times in our lives, and in different settings.